Saturday, April 17, 2010

Returning to where I belong-The Kutch trip'10

A couple of shops selling a variety of Kutchi arts and crafts, blooming with vibrant colours, playing Kutchi and Gujarati folk music warmly welcome you to the Narayan Sarovar village. Whilst travelling from Bhuj to Narayan Sarovar, the tyres of the vehicle in which we were travelling went flat near Kanauj. The chances of getting another vehicle seemed remote and therefore we decided to walk the distance of about 3 kilometres to the village. Barren stretches which mostly grow Cactus surround the curvy roads that lead to Narayan Sarovar. In between those barren lands, are green pastures, a blessing for animals. These arid thorn-forests are also a home to the famous Chinkara deers, the desert foxes and the Great Indian Bustard. One does not normally encounter these animals on roads during the day time. We however, got lucky as we encountered a fox on the road which on seeing us quickly disappeared in a nearby bush. The forest also has plant species like the Babul. We also spotted the famous Indian Bustard and a few rabbits as well. This tranquil sanctuary is an attraction for nature lovers. The place is a combo of a holy place and an animal sanctuary. I came across a familiar face, a villager whom I had met on my last visit on the way and was wondering what to say to break the ice. He was the first to seize initiative, I was expecting a “Kin Ayo” which means “How are you?” in the Kutchi dialect, but got a ‘Hari Om’ instead which brought a smile on my face.

We were tired when we reached the village. Accomodation is not a problem here, because it has a dharamshala called Ann-Kshetra where one can live and eat free of cost. The next day, we visited the temples in the village. This place is also known for its temples and owes its prosperity to tourism. The village is situated on the banks of the lake “Narayan” (a name of Lord Vishnu). It is said that the lake emerged from the ground after the Lord hit an arrow in the ground. It is among the five holiest lakes in our country. The beautiful and sacred Shree Tri VikramRai, Shree Laxmi Narayan and Adi Narayan temples were constructed on the banks of the lake. The architecture of these temples is simply breath taking. Narayan Sarovar finds its name mentioned in the Bhagvad Gita. It is also known as the 64th pilgrimage according to the Hindu tradition. If you visit the others and fail to take a dip in the Narayan lake, the pilgrimage gets you no fruits. The place is a blessing for bird watchers as well. The presence of the lake too attracts a lot of different species of birds. Oppurtunity to click the birds keeps presenting itself which is a delight for photographers.

Once upon a time Ravana, the king of Lanka and a devotee of Lord Shiva wanted to take a Shiva ling to Lanka to eventually become immortal. Ravana promised the Lord that he would not drop the Ling anywhere on the way and take utmost care of it. He however dropped the Ling on the way to help a cow stuck in the mud. It immediately turned into millions of such Lings. When he came back, he was confused upon which one was the original Shiva Ling and he picked up a duplicate one. The original Ling stayed at Koteshwar which is about 2 km’s from the village. The temple has a huge complex. The Karachi port in Pakistan is only a few 100 km’s from Koteshwar and therefore strict vigilance is a must here. This place is therefore guarded by the Border Security Force. This is the last place in India where the sun sets. The beautiful sun-set is a treat to watch from the temple complex. The migratory Flamingoes which are spotted in the wet lands of Mumbai during summer, are originally from here.

Also present here is the famous Shri MahaPrabhuji’s Baithak. It is said that Lord Shiva himself had descended from heavens to listen to the Shri Maha Prabhuji preaching under a tree which is centuries old. Next to the Baithak, is a garden called Upvan which has about 1000 trees where one feels like a heaven when temperatures soar. Upvan also has a small room where Shri Morari Bapu stayed during his brief visit to the place.

Hindus and Muslims live together here. People here feel that caste matters only to people who live in big cities. This place with its colourful people and historic temples has attracted many visitors. Just like any other place in Kutch, this place too has plenty of cows. The villagers have themselves created sheds at the far end of the village to provide food, water and shelter for the cows. These sheds are a home to more than 1,000 cows today. The arrangement of a movie show in the village attracts one and all. It is indeed wonderful to watch the old and the young come together to enjoy the movie show.

Every local you meet here greets you with a smile; this speaks a lot about the resilience of the Kutchi people. An amazing contrast is how they choose to live their life full of colours in spite of the barren lands and harsh weather. They teach us a lot by making the best use of resources, as nature has given them so little.

Always ready to guard us, The Indian Army

Nice Pose

Stranded on an island

The Kingfisher. Ideal Setting


Egret-Busy Fishing

Looking over the fence